Joanne Blinman lost two children in a devastating house fire. The grieving mother suffered years of unbearable pain in her badly burnt legs and finally a double amputation. But now she is learning to embrace life again.
Joanne's house in Bristol caught fire in 1993. She rushed into the fire to try and save her daughter Hannah, then six months, and son Martin, then five, believing her other two daughters, Skyanne, three, and Amy, two, had already escaped.
Tragically, Skyanne and Amy died in the fire, and Joanne, now 42, was left with terrible burns to her legs.
Four years ago she decided she couldn't go on with the pain and made the brave decision to have both limbs amputated below the knee.
Joanne, who is known to her friends as 'Mojo' loves going out in her wheelchair, which she has customised with 400 flashing lights. She is also planning a charity tandem skydive to raise money for Paul's Place, a charity for physically disabled adults.
Talking about the tragic fire which robbed her of her two daughters, Joanne - who has since had twins Zac and Jake, now 11 - told This is Bristol: "I ran upstairs to Hannah who was six months old at the time and Martin, who was five years old, raised the alarm with the neighbours. I thought Amy and Skyanne were out.
"I had suffered bad burns to my legs. They thought at the time it was perhaps an open fire that had caused it.
"There were some pretty dark days and I suffered with depression quite a lot. I actually moved back into the house where the fire was because I wanted to be close to my daughters and didn't want anybody else living there - I still live there now.
"My legs had been badly burnt and I was always zonked out on medication but four years ago I had my left leg off and three years ago my right and my life is back on track. I am a bubbly person again and even go raving in my wheelchair!"
Joanne is now preparing for her next challenge - a 13,000ft skydive which she is hoping will raise more than £1,000 for charity.
"My life is back on track and I wanted to do something out of this world," she says. "I have never been in a plane and the only similar thing I have done is gliding but I can't wait.
"I wanted to do this for Paul's Place as they have given me the most amazing life. They have given me a new meaning to my life. After this I will have to think of something to do next ...but I can't face bungee jumping!"
What a remarkable woman. Good luck Joanne!
Find out more about the work Paul's Place does, and how you can help by logging on to Paulsplace.org.uk.
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